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Flushing away poor hygiene


George Hand, Head of Cleaning, Hygiene and Catering at Office Depot UK & Ireland, explores key products for washroom hygiene and explains how utilising a thorough audit can ensure your business has the most appropriate equipment in place.


Washrooms are not only important to ensure hygiene levels are met, but also leave a lasting impression on your company. If you work in a


service-led business, the status of your organisation can be impacted by


a poorly maintained and stocked washroom. It is crucial, therefore, that they always fall under great scrutiny.


Research of UK-based office workers found that 30% of businesses failed to offer antibacterial handwash or soap. While most, if not all, businesses will claim this is not the case, the notion that people have experienced going to the washroom and not being able to wash their hands effectively is a concern.


Not supplying handwash, or failing to ensure stock is always available, leaves employees vulnerable to harmful diseases, including Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus. January 2020 saw almost 3000 cases of norovirus reported in England alone, further emphasising the need to ensure that all employees have the basic washroom hygiene essentials to their disposal.


In addition to handwash, there are also concerns with both hand drying apparatus and toilet roll stock, but what options are available and how much stock should be ordered? Let’s take a look in more detail.


Washing hands


Paper hygiene is one of the most prominent items in any office, but not all businesses have the same thorough


44 | WASHROOM HYGIENE


process. Last year, Office Depot found that an incredible 22% of people said their offices didn’t have appropriate hand drying equipment. Whether it’s electric hand dryers or paper towels, the lack of a drying mechanism is clearly unacceptable. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) notes that employers must provide ‘toilets and hand basins with soap and towels or a hand dryer’, meaning many businesses could be breaking health and safety regulations.


Good hygiene practices in the washroom are essential to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. So, then, what options are available for businesses and what should be considered?


Paper-based hygiene, such as towels and toilet rolls, seems simple to order but managing the stock and quantity required can be difficult. The first consideration for any business is simple: how big is the facility? The size of the space can dictate which paper and which dispensers are most suitable, while it also indicates how much stock can be ordered.


Other considerations, such as the number of visitors to each washroom, as well as how often the dispensers are refilled, should also be audited before pursuing the most effective service.


Managing high-traffic washrooms


High-traffic washrooms are difficult to maintain and manage, and careful consideration is required for facilities teams. If poorly managed, there’s a possibility that guests will be left without crucial washroom products, including hand towels and soap. Clearly this is an issue


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